Pre-amble: Recovering RC (old-school German version no less). Took 30+ years to finally break free and become an atheist, through negative religious experiences, gradual self-reflection and rationalization (I suspect my degree in Math/Computer Science also had something to add).

Now to my paradox. My (and Dawkins', and probably every other atheist's) quest for truth (resulting in atheism) has been fundamentally based on rationalization. But I cannot mentally get past my own following (ironically rational) argument:

- Rationalism is based on logic.
- Logic is ultimately based on set theory (like most math).
- Sets are groupings of like entities.
- No two real entities exist alike (due to Heisenberg uncertainty, or other quantum-level concept).
- So sets cannot exist (except for abstractions).
- So logic has no foundation.
- So rationalism is impossible.

Seriously, this personal paradox is vexing me - someone please help with where my rationale is breaking down!

-johnny

Tags: heisenberg, impossible, logic, math, quantum, rational, set

Views: 147

Replies to This Discussion

Indeed... observe it already!
Thank-you for your in-depth (if digressive) response.

I have now reverted to a more general argument, which is that we all have a "reality delusion" (not just god/logic delusions). No one can ever know anything for sure except via their mental model, built and enhanced via their (deceiving) senses and internal logic.

"I think, therefore I am." - that is about as far as one can go with anything approaching confidence (under a normal homeostatic state - i.e., not drunk off one's ass :-). The only reality that exists for me (including the perception of you and your supposed, consistent reality) is in my mind. Babies have got the right idea.

In summary, I am god. :-)
Oh, damn!

Another one took the blue pill!

If you are God--if the world only exists in your mind and because you are thinking it up, then let's face it--you've got a lousy imagination.
Haha! Well, only the human-violated world... Gaia would be beautiful on her own.
Wow, a god we can read and verify, my world is torn asunder!
- No two real entities exist alike (due to Heisenberg uncertainty, or other quantum-level concept).
- So sets cannot exist (except for abstractions).

Explain that shit.

- Sets are groupings of like entities.
- No two real entities exist alike (due to Heisenberg uncertainty, or other quantum-level concept).

delta-x * delta-p >= h/(4*pi), with its bearing on the relationship between the error in knowing a particle's position and the error in knowing its momentum has no bearing at all on your strange comparison between entities and sets.

Really, this could only indicate, in your strange entities-in-sets metaphor, that a set of entities would contain, at most, one entity each, if each set if defined based on what entity it contains. Obviously only partial similarity (hence the use of the word "similarity" and not "identicality") is needed to group things into a set like, say, the set of all men who do not shave themselves.

- Logic is ultimately based on set theory (like most math).

Other way around.

Set theory needs logic; not the other way.

Beyond this text, I'm just being a smartass

- No two real entities exist alike (due to Heisenberg uncertainty, or other quantum-level concept).

Your degree is in math/computer science, not quantum physics. I suspect that you have no clue what you're talking at here or are a deep-cover theist.

- So sets cannot exist (except for abstractions).

Sets are abstractions.

- So rationalism is impossible.

Everything banana impossible, leaving the domain of the approximately zero-to-seven scale, seven being the most atheistic, as [0,7). That infinitesimal leftover left over is irrelevant. Go get your shoe that you threw into the neighbor's yard in frustration, go back inside, and go back to bed and sleep.
Did you just crawl in from the bar or something? :-) The shit-explaining is in the various replies of this discussion.

I do have a clue what I am talking about here, though admittedly not a quantum physics major, all sciences are fundamentally rooted in math. And my strong theism has been chiseled away painstakingly over the course of 25+ years - longer than you have been alive (according to your profile). In that time, I hope that you have studied outside your specialty, as I have - that can be healthy endeavour.

I take it you do not have a math degree. Logic and set theory are fundamentally the same, and kind of ratchet each other up to more complex forms. You can start with a basic set theory, build logic, and then build a more complicated set theory. Sets are indeed abstractions/models that supposedly represent real entities, which is where this discussion started.

Really, if you want people to listen to you, please try to be more constructive.

Thanx for responding though! I appreciate free-speakers.
Sure, but if science is rooted in reason, what is reason rooted in?

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